1742] To Horace Mann 313
neighbours. Whisk has spread an universal opium over the whole nation; it makes courtiers and Patriots sit down to the same pack of cards. The only thing extraordinary, and which yet did not seem to surprise anybody, was the Barberina's8 being attacked by four men masked, the other night, as she came out of the Opera House, who would have forced her away; but she screamed, and the guard came. Nobody knows who set 'them on, and I believe nobody inquired.
The Austrians in Flanders have separated from our troops a little out of humour, because it was impracticable for them to march without any preparatory provision for their reception. They will probably march in two months, if no peace prevents it. Adieu !
103. To HOKACE MANN.
Arlington Street, Dec. 23, 1742.
I HAVE had no letter from you this fortnight, and I have heard nothing this month: judge how fit I am to write. I hope it is not another mark of growing old; but, I do assure you, my writing begins to leave me. Don't be frightened ! I don't mean this as an introduction towards having done with you—I will write to you to the very stump of my pen, and, as Pope says,
' Squeeze out the last dull droppings of my sense.'
But I declare, it is hard to sit spinning out one's brains by the fireside without having heard the least thing to set one's hand a-going. I am so put to it for something to say, that I would make a memorandum of the most improbable lie that could be invented by a viscountess dowager; as the
a A famous dancer. Walpolo